A story about our choices made in life with the back drop of an FBI investigation.
Steven Kelly sits on the long wooden bench at the brand new Main Street Garden Park. The tattered black briefcase is placed on the ground to his left by his feet, just as he was instructed to do. He is relaxed, sitting with his legs crossed, enjoying the sights and sounds of the people and traffic passing by on the four streets that frame the downtown Dallas park. He staggers in and out of day dreams as he watches dogs of all sizes and breeds run around trying to show each other who’s the boss on the large grass area in the middle, it’s brown with scattered patches of green, same as the trees that line the grey concrete path that circles the park. Everything is changing on this autumn day, except for the magnolia trees; they stand there boasting dark green leaves for all to see while silently spreading their sweet fragrance in the warm air from the South.
She sent word for him to make the exchange in the usual spot at eleven am. She’ll send one of her loyal drones out to make the pick-up then meet him face to face at another location. He is disgusted at being ordered to meet with her after everything she has done to him since that night almost two years ago. He looks West over the park at the clock on top of The Merc building, it reads eleven fourteen, they’re late again.
People walking by look at him and smile, they say good morning and he smiles back and says the same to them. He reaches up to scratch his thick graying beard and his hand brushes against the stiff collar wrapped around his neck. He forgets that he is a Priest, dressed in the familiar black suit with white collar. Becoming a Priest wasn’t his idea, that’s a new role for him, but the rest of this operation he’s done hundreds of times.
A tall, skinny, blonde haired man in his early twenties nervously sits down in the empty seat next to him. Father Kelly looks over the teen age looking man and notices his dark suit doesn’t match his shaggy blonde hair and blue eyes. His face is well tanned, looking like he just got off the surf board rather than a seasoned business man taking a break in the park between meetings.
The kid places a brand new black briefcase next to Father Kelly’s and picks up the middle-aged Priests briefcase, waits a few seconds then gets up and quickly walks West through the park, directly through the large grass area, not taking the concrete pathway. The large dogs run up to him sniffing the briefcase desperately hoping it’s a treat for them while the owners carefully watch, wondering what a tall man in a dark suit with shaggy blonde hair is doing with a briefcase walking through the dog area. As Father Kelly watches the disastrous show of blending in he shakes his head and laughs a little out loud.
He uncrosses his legs, calmly stands up and grabs the new briefcase. He walks North on Harwood St. through the crosswalk over Main St. to the parking garage, entering the ten story building through the driveway he walks up to the second floor to his parked car. After securing the briefcase in the trunk under the spare tire he walks across to the other side and takes the stairs down to street level. He exits the double glass doors and heads West on Elm Street past the Majestic Theater on his way to meet with her.
He crosses St. Paul Street and on past Ervay, glancing at the fine art and fancy clothes in the windows of the expensive stores, which are snuggled in between boarded up stores with broken glass and trash scattered inside. He continues strolling down the street racing through his thoughts.
Father Kelly picks up his pace, weaving in and out of people on the crowded side walk. He looks up at the last second and slams directly into a man walking the opposite direction.
“Please excuse me sir, I wasn’t watching where I was going, lost in thought I guess,” says Kelly stopping in the middle of the crowded sidewalk while people scatter around him telling him not to politely to keep moving or get out of the way.
“That’s alright Father, no harm done,” says the man with short brown hair dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. “Just be more careful about the path you are on.”
The man keeps on walking and doesn’t look back. Kelly stands there blocking the flow of life-in-the-city and stares at the man as he walks off. He takes a couple deep breathes to clam himself and return his blood pressure back to high instead of hypertension. He continues walking slowly, for the first time he notices the stream of mechanical people, swiftly walking to a job he’s certain they can’t stand, working with people they despise and look down upon, all while telling their friends and followers what a magnificent life they enjoy. When in reality it is ordinarily dull. He realizes how much he hates that lie people live, always trying to be better than the next person, better clothes, a better phone, a cooler car and always judging those who don’t appear to have it all. How about they just live their life, be who they really are and not give a shit about what other people think, do, say or their judgment.
He approaches Field Street and sees the black van parked on the opposite side of the street from the restaurant. Stopping the flow of the mindless once again, he stares at the van and laughs out loud; hypertension is going to be here all day.
He marches into Enchilada’s restaurant and takes his seat at the bar next to a Hispanic woman; she’s in her mid thirties with light mocha skin and remarkable brown eyes. Her unruly black hair with loose curls falls past her shoulders to the middle of her back. She is dressed in the standard issue blue skirt with matching jacket and a white blouse. Her natural beauty makes the apathetic outfit look amazing and the men in the restaurant have given their approval with creepy, way too long, stares.
“Did they really park right there? Do they have to be right out in plain sight where everyone can see? They might as well paint FBI on the side in big white letters,” he says.
“Father Kelly,” she says. “It’s never a pleasure seeing you.”
“That’s nice Christina, I see you’ve already started eating without me, thanks for waiting,” he says.
“Brisket tacos, they are amazing!”
“You guys were late; I can’t be sitting around waiting for you and the rest of your team to get your shit together.”
“We had a problem with the new guy; it’s handled and won’t happen again.”
“See that it doesn’t, I don’t like you and I don’t like meeting with you, I’ve got more important things to be doing right now.”
“What like saying Mass or hearing Confessions?” she says focused on her food.
“Something along those lines, yes.”
“You know you’re not supposed to be doing that, are you?”
“Don’t be absurd, what do you think?”
“I think you’re enjoying your assignment a little too much and you need to remember why you are here and what you need to be doing, which is focus on this case and keep your personal feelings about me to yourself.”
“Don’t you lecture me.”
“I can and I will. You will do what I ask when I ask you to do it, no questions. Never forget who you work for, Father.”
“I know exactly who I work for and when I was in charge of this undercover operation I didn’t just half-ass it like you’re doing. If you can’t be in charge then you better speak up so I can have you replaced.”
“Replaced? You’re not running the show anymore and if you don’t like it then take it up with your old buddy, The Director. Since you lost somebody the last time you were in charge I’m pretty sure he’ll have my back on this one. The twenty years you have under your belt doesn’t mean shit to me. You’re the undercover agent and I’m the Special Agent in Charge. All I care about is bringing down The Kings, not your opinions of me and what I did that night.”
“You think I don’t want them dead too, after what they did to you. I’ve been chasing them a lot longer than you have and I’m closer now than anyone at the Bureau has ever been. Look at my briefcase, I’ve got three folders in there with names and those guys are The Kings.”
“You’re going to calmly sit your portly ass on that bar stool and think that just now is a good time to be letting me know you have names of The Kings?”
“Yes, I just now felt it was a good time to let you know, boss. We can’t move on them just yet, I need more time. These guys are masters at not being directly involved in anything, so stay off my ass and out of my way. I don’t need you or the skinny blonde punk teenager out there in the van screwing it all up. I will contact you and I will let you know when you can meet me again. Finish your lunch; it’s always a pleasure putting up with your shit, Special Agent Garcia.”
Father Kelly gets up and calmly struts out the door, waves and smiles to the agents in the van across the street and heads back to his car.
Garcia quickly opens the side door to the unmarked van.
“Agent Garcia, back so soon? How did it go?” asks Agent David Thomas with a smirk on his face, sitting in the driver’s seat staring out the front window.
“You heard what he had to say. He hates me and I hate him.” she says climbing into her set in the back, slamming the door shut. “Did you open it yet?”
“No ma’am, we were waiting on you,” says Agent blonde punk teenager turned halfway around in the front passenger seat.
“Good, hand it over. I want to see what the idiot pretend Father has been up to. Let’s get out of here.”
Agent Thomas pulls the big black van into traffic heading west on Elm St., passing the Sixth Floor Museum and the grassy knoll on through the triple underpass and takes highway I-35E South.
“Did you catch what he said? I think he’s carrying out the duties of a real Priest. You believe that shit? He really is brainless if he thinks we’ll let him get away with that. You know how long it took me to get them to sign off on him being a Priest? The FBI has a strict policy of not impersonating clergy. I had to come up with all kinds of bullshit and cash in almost all of my personal favors to get them to say yes.” she says pulling the briefcase onto her lap and quickly spinning the numbers to 666, her inside joke. She opens it and retrieves the green folders. She brushes the hair from her face and starts to read as the van gently sways back and forth from the highway speed.
“What do we have?” asks Agent Thomas.
“Carlos Trejos: age sixty, Hispanic, widowed. Richard Burr: sixty one, White, single. Mr. Wallace: sixty five, African-American, married. Agent Kelly says these three are The Kings.”
“Agent Kelly?” says the blonde punk teenager. “That’s not his real name.”
“I know, just shut up and listen. Don’t over complicate things right now,” she says. “These three have been Church members for over twenty years and according to Kelly they run their operation out of the basement. There are four members of the financial board, Trejo, Burr, Wallace and one Father Kelly. His report says they use the Church finances for cover. Well, I guess he’s doing something right by getting us that information. Months on this case and he’s just now telling me he has names and contact with The Kings, what an asshole.”
David merges the full-size van off of I-35E south and continues South West on Highway 67, towards the Church and the safe house.
“Now that we have names and info on these killers I’m going to request surveillance. TacOps will slip in to Kelly’s office, I want eyes and ears in there now, along with the rest of the church and offices,” she said.
“Are we giving Kelly that information and are we allowed to bug a Church?” asks David.
“I want to see what he’s up to and exactly how close he is to these three. I have a feeling we are not being fully briefed on what goes on in that Church and his involvement with The Kings so I’ll tell him when I’m ready. I don’t know if we can bug them or not, I’m sure I’ll catch hell for even asking for it.”
Carlos stands at the front of the Church, he lights two candles at the base of a statue of the Virgin Mary. He kneels down and prays carrying out the same ritual he does every week. The main Church is empty but a couple stands at the back of the foyer talking to each other about their wedding plans. They discuss what flowers go where and who sits in what row, the usual stuff the groom doesn’t really care about.
Carlos gently raises his small frame off the kneeler, he walks up to the Altar which has a large Crucifix behind it and bows deeply. He walks to the left of the Altar and through the gray metal door out to the hallway. Walking the length of the hallway he takes the stairs down to the basement. Already seated at the table are his partners, Richard Burr and Mr. Wallace.
He takes his seat on the brown folding chair. The room is well lit, clean and organized. Boxes are neatly stacked on metal shelving; statues are wrapped up and stored in the corner. Church volunteers have organized the Christmas decorations at the opposite end of the room, ready to go up in a few weeks. Their meeting table is empty, no pens, no paper, and no phones. These meetings are all done completely from memory and that has been one of the rules for over two decades.
“My brothers, I call this meeting to order. We are here to discuss business and business only. Personal feelings must be left at the door,” says Carlos softly.
“Understood,” the two other men say in unison.
“Alright,” says Mr. Wallace. “First thing we need to discuss is I think it’s time to bring our new Priest into the inner circle, Father Kelly.”
“Deacon Simmons doesn’t trust him yet,” says Richard. “I think we need more time with the good Father, see who he really is.”
“Agreed,” says Carlos.
“I’ve been working with him for over four months on Church matters and I think it’s time and we can trust him,” says Mr. Wallace.
“Yes we can trust him, on Church matters only,” says Carlos.
“He’s not ready yet,” says Richard.
“When is he going to be ready? Right now we need the influence and power he’s gained in the community. We need that power back.” says Mr. Wallace. “He should take the place of Father Glen, who I wish was still with us, but that wasn’t my call. Kelly is doing a great job at getting people to follow him and trust him. I think we can use him to our advantage, to help sway the people of the community to trust us again and look the other way on our actions and what we stand for. He can convince them we are here to help them and protect them, despite the criminal stuff we do.”
“Father Glen couldn’t be who we wanted him to be. We brought him into the inner circle and he refused to do what we asked of him, so he got what he deserved. He chose the wrong path I didn’t choose it for him, he was a grown man, he knew the consequences of his actions.” says Richard.
“We need to check Kelly out further and see if he can be persuaded to join us,” says Carlos.
“What about our contact at the FBI?” asks Richard.
“I’ll contact him and tell him to run a background check,” says Mr. Wallace.
“We are a little behind here, we should have checked him out months ago and told the Bishop yes or no on sending him here,” says Carlos. “We had great influence in this Church and community gentlemen; we need to get that back and use it to our advantage.”
“Our intelligence guy dropped the ball, I asked him to check Father Kelly out,” says Wallace.
“Yes he did, that’s my fault and I will personally see to it that he has the misfortune of finding out what it feels like not to do the job we pay him for,” says Richard.
“As he should be dealt with, according to our rules of revenge,” says Carlos rising from his chair and buttoning his jacket. “Our fathers, as well as we, have worked too hard, shed too much blood to let our power fall because we forgot to do a simple background check and we keep losing influence and respect in the community. Little mistakes we keep making will bring down our whole empire. Father Kelly stays on the outside for now. We will bring him in when you convince me we can use him and then throw him away. Good day gentlemen, I’ll see you in a week.”
Tapping on the steering wheel to the beat on the radio Father Kelly pulls into his reserved parking spot behind the church offices. He pops the trunk and pulls the black briefcase from under the spare tire; locks the doors, takes a quick look around and peacefully walks into the building and up to his office, still humming the song on the radio. He places the briefcase on his desk and spins the dials to 666, slides the levers but it is locked. He clears the numbers and tries again, it’s still locked.
“Why would she change the numbers?” Kelly says to the four walls of his undecorated office.
He shakes the briefcase and he can hear the folders clatter around inside. He spins the numbers one more time but it remains locked keeping its vital information unknown.
“What the hell am I supposed to do with this? I need that information to do my job. That bitch is setting me up for failure, again,” says Kelly.
Kelly places the briefcase under the desk by his feet, gets up and walks out of his office; down the hallway out to the breezeway between the Church offices and the Sanctuary. He takes out his phone to call Garcia and tell her what he thinks of her game. He recognizes a man through the window in the door, seated in the front row of the Sanctuary. He is alone and has a look of worry on his face. The phone just rings and rings, she is not accepting his calls apparently. He wonders what is troubling the man so he goes in to see if he can help.
He sits down next to him and they sit in silence, he is drawn to something about this man, he feels attached to him, like he could tell him everything that he is thinking and the man wouldn’t judge him.
“Thank you for coming in and sitting with me Father, I was hoping you wouldn’t walk away, I’ve been here waiting on you. I am having trouble making some decisions in my life and I’m not sure who to turn to,” says the man finally breaking the silence after a few minutes.
“Didn’t we bump into each other this morning on the street?” says Kelly.
“Yes we did, I saw that you are a Priest now and I figured you would be here.”
“I’m not much of a Priest yet but I’m trying. You know we all have troubles from time to time and sometimes it’s best to talk them through with someone,” says Kelly. “What troubles are you facing?”
“I’m all alone in this world and have no one to help me out with life’s big decisions and give me guidance. I go to work and do my job very well but I’ve grown to despise it. Then I go home to an empty house and I’m all alone until I return to work. I repeat that boring lonely cycle all week. Everyone has left me, I don’t have anyone to talk to, to laugh with, to love, to just spend time with, doing something doing nothing, I don’t know. I feel like people just use me for whatever they need, then just throw me away and not care about my feelings, I’m just sick of it all,” says the man blankly staring at the Altar. “I’m not here because I’m suicidal; I’ve never had thoughts about that. I want to live life to its fullest, just not alone.”
“I can understand all those feelings,” says Father Kelly.
“I thought maybe you could help me by showing me God’s way. I’m not sure where to begin with Him or even if I want to. I’ve been to Church many times, although it’s been a long time since I have attended Mass. How do I start over with God? I want to know if He can show me the way and decide if I want to follow him again,” says the man staring down at the floor.
“Absolutely you should, he can help you through these tough times.”
“I don’t want to die. I want to live to be a hundred just because that would be cool to see the world over a century, but we are all going to die someday, right?”
“You know what I think is going to happen when I die? I think I will be standing there with God or Jesus or St. Peter, whoever it is you see first, and they will say ‘you have prayed to God, His Son Jesus and all the Saints and Angels for forgiveness of sins and help during all the bad times in your life and that’s good but why didn’t you pray during all the good times, to give thanks to God and His Son for making it all good for you?’ that’s what he will ask me and I don’t have an answer to that.”
“Start praying for help during this dreadful time in your life and when God helps you out tell Him thank you. We have all heard the saying ‘God works in mysterious ways’ and he does. When you pray and you think you didn’t receive an answer that doesn’t mean He didn’t hear you or you didn’t pray the right way. Maybe he did answer you and you haven’t figured out what that answer is yet. When you pray and there are no answers from God, maybe that is His answer. Maybe he is telling you that you don’t need to worry about that problem right now, maybe He wants you to focus on other things in your life. God does have a plan for all of us but he also gave us free will, the freedom to make our own choices in the life He gave us. It is up to us though to know right from wrong,” says Father Kelly surprising himself with his wisdom about God.
“It sounds like you have given this a lot of thought. You are saying that I shouldn’t be worried about being alone, that I should live my life how I see fit?”
“Yes, for now. Use this time to reflect about whom you really are and the man you want to become, this is a new starting point for you. You are getting this opportunity to straighten this out with yourself.”
“Has that ever happened to you?”
“Yes, right now as a matter of fact.”
“What do you mean?”
“I make bad decisions quickly about the path of my life, instead of waiting and thinking them through. The last two years have been a hell for me; my wife has left me and that’s something I can’t admit to myself or to anyone else just yet. I have a coworker that decided to ruin me for her own gain, now no one trusts me anymore. I hold grudges and must get revenge on people who I think have done wrong to me. Things were going really bad for me until I came to this Church.”
“Your wife left you?”
“Yes, she is gone to a better place now. I couldn’t stop it from happening.” says Kelly.
“Yes you could have, you chose not to.”
“I don’t want to discuss that with you right now.”
“I’m glad that coming to this Church has helped you see the right path in life. I hope talking with me has helped you decide what it is you want to do about those situations you described. I hope you chose God’s plan and not Satan’s plan, because they both have plans for you. God gave you free will to decide who to follow but things will go horribly wrong for you if you choose the wrong path. Satan will make the path look brilliant with riches and power and everything that you think would be great in your life but it’s a path that leads to a soul crushing Hell.”
Both men sit in the Sanctuary reflecting on each other’s thoughts. They soak up the soul cleansing silence in God’s House. Listening to this man has helped Kelly with his problems. He realizes that this is the perfect time to change who he is and live the life he wants to live.
“Thank you Father, you have really helped me out.”
“That’s what I’m here for. You have really helped me out too, you gave better advice than I did and I thank you, sir.”
“I’m Father Kelly, I hope we can stay in touch.”
“Yes, you will see more of me when you need help on life changing decisions. Please don’t overstep your bounds on what you are pretending to be, it’s not fair to the people who believe you. Never forget it’s just a suit and collar you wear for the job, you are not an ordained Priest.”
The man quickly gets up and walks to the back of the Sanctuary and exits to the outside world.
“What? How do you know that? When I need help? What do you mean; you came to me asking for help.” Says Kelly confused about what Anthony just said.
Kelly gets up and hastily walks to the door, flings it open but the man is gone. He sees two gardeners covering the plants with plastic to protect them from the coming cold.
“Did you two see a man just walk by here?”
“No Father we didn’t see anyone.”
“Not even a minute ago he walked outside from the Sanctuary. You didn’t see him?”
“Father we have been here for a couple of hours and no one has gone in or out of the Sanctuary.”
Father Kelly stands there confused about what Anthony had to say. He looks around the yard and the parking lot but doesn’t see anyone.
“Are you sure you didn’t see him?”
“Yes Father, I would tell you if we did. Are you ok?”
“Yes I’m fine, thank you. I’m sorry to keep asking it’s just that I met with a man and I thought he walked out this way, but maybe not. Maybe I’m going crazy.”
“I don’t think you are Father, he might have walked out another way is all.”
“You’re probably right, thank you anyway.”
“Anytime Father, have a blessed day.”
“You too, I’ll see you two at Church on Sunday?”
“Yes of coarse Father.”
Kelly walks back to his office and gathers his things; onto yet another important meeting but he happy to attend this one, the puzzle is coming together. He’s sure Anthony won’t overstep his bounds and tag along.
It’s eight am and her shift just started, Garcia has her hot venti vanilla latte and a pack of Marlboros, standard issue for her while on surveillance. Her attention is focused on the large flat screen hanging on the wall in front of her, which shows Father Kelly’s office. His office sits empty but he left the light on and she’s scanning the room trying to find some sort of information. Maybe a piece of paper carelessly left on the desk with an important name or address. His desk is clean though, too clean for the usually unorganized Agent Kelly she has come to know over her six years at the Bureau. She has her suspicions that the imitation Priest is deliberately holding back on his level of involvement with The Kings.
It’s been weeks of surveillance filled with the usual case killing red tape from her boss and the top idiots at the Bureau who have forgotten what it’s like to run an undercover operation. Agent blonde punk teenager has been busy decorating the room with pictures, names and bios of The Kings inner circle, information they gathered through authorized surveillance and not so authorized tactics.
The Kings are her incurable enemy, this list is her whole life right now, everything else is on hold, weather she likes it or not. She can only operate that way; it’s all or nothing with this case and she purposely makes no time for personal relationships anymore. She convinces herself she doesn’t have time for both; she can’t make time for both. She runs through reason after reason, excuses after excuses trying to tell herself she can’t have a career and a good relationship any longer. Her eyes stare at the TV but she’s not watching anything, she is lost in thought about her life. Why can’t she make time for a life outside of work? Her partner, Agent Thomas does it; even blonde punk teenager has a girlfriend he goes home to. She comes full circle in her random thoughts realizing she knows exactly why. Relationships are something she’s never going to have again, not after that night anyway. She’s not close to anyone anymore, not her brothers or sister or even her mom and dad. Always too busy with the next big case, a lie she tells them and herself. Truth is she doesn’t put any effort into it, not after what happened nineteen months and twenty six days ago as her internal clock always keeps track, almost down to the seconds that have passed. She has always felt alone in this world since that day, wondering aimlessly through her life looking for someone to love and actually love her back as much as he did. How can she be so damn good at her job but a complete disaster with everything else? She lights another cigarette and sips the warm coffee, lost in the reckless world that is her life, to afraid to let anyone get close, to afraid to lose someone again.
Her love for him is still there, filling her body all the way to her soul. He was her world; she lived for him, loved him, and doesn’t want to be without him. Fact is he’s gone, never to be there to welcome her home with dinner on the table or a bed full of roses or just a simple night of watching nothing important on TV. She loved just being near him, feeling his touch on her skin, his breath in her ear, sharing complete thoughts with just a look into his eyes. She’s never going to feel that warm touch or the sound of his voice because she was foolish to think she could have it all. She knew tragedy would find her one day, a great career and a perfect husband was too much to ask for, that’s how it has always been in her flawed life. The life she has now grown exhausted of, waking up every morning all alone and having to put on her delectable heavy mask to face this cruel world and have it accept her. Her heavy mask helps hide the pain of her soul being ripped apart like the unforgiving army of red fire ants slowly and deliberately ripping apart a picnic basket full of food. Her life has become the delicious food and her growing guilt about him and what she did are the stinging ants slowly tormenting her about all the mistakes she made that night. His beautiful life taken away because of her arrogance, thinking she could protect him from the violent and unforgiving world she brought into their lives. She had no reason or even authority to have him walking with her that night, on that street, during that operation. It was a simple meeting with an informant that had information on The Kings.
He saw the masked assassin before she did and quickly stepped in front of her, taking two bullets to the chest and one in the forehead. Bullets filled with hate that was supposed to end her life, not his, a message from The Kings to stay away. Soaked in his innocent blood she watched him die instantly, but the scene replays in her mind in super slow motion every time she closes her eyes.
“Thank you for meeting with me,” says Mr. Wallace. “Please, sit down.”
“Thank you for inviting me to breakfast, I’ve been hoping to meet with you. Thank you for all the work you do at the Church, Father Rayne and Father Lee say you have been a long time member and volunteer,” says Father Kelly.
He sits down at the round table covered in a brilliant white table cloth. Two glasses of water sit patiently on the table along with the silverware wrapped neatly in red napkins. They sit in the middle of the elegant restaurant, surrounded by tables filled with other guests. Everyone is dressed in suits and ties, the super rich business class, here to start off a busy day of negotiating deals on mergers or buy outs or whatever it is they do all day long. Each one trying their best to prove they have the most money and the most expensive toys in the garage that sit unused.
Two men sit at the table directly to his right, they look out of place. Mr. Wallace’s body guards for sure, here to protect one of The Kings.
“Yes I have, and I truly enjoy volunteering, I feel so at peace when I’m at the Church,” says Wallace.
“Yes, I feel the same way when I walk in there. It’s a feeling of God welcoming you and immediately forgiving you of all the sins you have committed. Trust me, I need a lot of forgiveness these days,” says Kelly.
“We can stop with all the Church talk, Agent Barnes. I know who you are and you know exactly who I am what I do and who I represent, but you can’t do anything about it right now because your team has a very week case. I’m not too concerned about you jumping up and trying to arrest me, you couldn’t even if you really wanted to. They won’t let you, will they?” says Mr. Wallace.
“No, they won’t,” says Kelly.
“Let me get right to the reason as to why I have invited you here. I have a proposition for you. I think it’s time you joined our team, be a part of our inner circle. You’re not very good at trying to stop us and I believe you have done your time on that side of the law and are looking to get out. You don’t like it there anymore. Is that correct Agent Barnes?’ says Wallace.
“Yes,” says Kelly.
“Good, I have been watching you watch us and I know all about you. Currently you are working undercover for the FBI trying to catch us,” Says Wallace. “You have been there for twenty years and are very close to the Director, which I think will be very helpful to us and our organization. You have a wife and no kids. I know where she is living, an insurance policy for me. My partners don’t know I have all this information on you and if they found out we would both be dead. If you decide to tell your boss, Agent Garcia, anybody at the Bureau or any one of my partners about this meeting I’ll have my man kill you and your wife.”
“Understood,” says Kelly.
“You will use the resources of the FBI to stop the case against us and help us dismantle all the other organizations we are in competition with. We are looking to expand by any means necessary, if you know what I mean.”
“I’ve been watching you for years, I know how you operate and I also know all the crimes you have committed. I’m a Special Agent in the FBI, what makes you think you can turn me?”
“I know all about your career at the Bureau, it’s not that illustrious to be honest. The only way you have stayed where you are is because of your relationship with The Director. Anyone else would have fired you long ago for the way you ran your team. I was watching that night Agent Garcia’s husband was murdered. I saw you do nothing when you noticed a man walking towards them. You wanted her to die didn’t you Barnes? You would have pulled the trigger yourself if you thought you could have gotten away with it.”
“Just because I don’t like her doesn’t mean I want her dead,” says Kelly
“I know how she manipulated the bosses into taking over the investigation into us. She tried to ruin your career and get you fired from the Bureau. She used you to make a name for herself. While she was on your team she withheld evidence until she could use it for her own gain. She sabotaged your investigation to make you look useless to the big boss’. When you found out about it she already had them in her back pocket. You looked like an idiot accusing their superstar agent. The only friend who halfway believed you was The Director, and even then he had already decided you were reckless. He only kept you on because you cashed in the personal favor that he owed you. You want nothing more than to give her the agonizing payback that she rightly deserves. Isn’t that right, Barnes?”
“That doesn’t mean I want her dead.”
“Maybe not, but if she got in the way of an armed suspect or some other unfortunate event would have happened, you wouldn’t have stopped it. You didn’t stop it that night.”
Father Kelly sits silent; Wallace has played the one card that he can’t say no to. He takes a long drink of the cool water. He didn’t want to stop it that night. He did want her to die. That’s what the bitch deserved for the misery she put him through, she doesn’t give a damn about him and he doesn’t give a damn if she stops breathing.
“Her husband worked for me. She is brilliant at her job so I needed eyes on her at all times. He was good; she believed he actually loved her. With his information I decided that she was getting to close to fast and she needed to be off the investigation, permanently. So we set up a trap for you and your team and she walked right into it. Unfortunately for both of us I didn’t get the job done. I didn’t know that he would sacrifice himself for her, but he did and that told me his loyalty was to her and not to The Kings and he needed to be killed for that anyway.”
“What do you mean you were watching me that night? Why?” says Kelly
“I knew you were investigating us so I had eyes on you as well. No, your wife doesn’t work for me, don’t worry. When I saw your lack of reaction to the developing situation right in front of you it made me think about your commitment to the FBI, you put your personal feelings about Garcia over your operation. Your loyalty to the Bureau changed that night. You no longer care about getting us, you just want revenge on her, that’s why you stayed on her team and volunteered to go undercover. So you could damage her case and bring her down, to show the Bureau that you are not crazy. That hasn’t really worked out for you though. She has always been two steps ahead of you and that drives you insane.”
“It’s true that my career at the Bureau hasn’t been stellar, but that doesn’t mean I want to be a rat for you,” says Kelly.
“A rat, you won’t be a rat for anybody; you’re just going to work for us now and send the investigation away from us. Just hide some evidence; I know you’ve had some practice at that. We will let you get your revenge on her anyway you see fit. But if you decide not to accept our offer then I can let our other contact at the Bureau find out about this meeting and any other details I want to him to know about you.”
“Who else do you have and why do you need me then?”
“Agent Steve Barnes, you know I’m not going to give you that information, let me just say I need someone with a higher security clearance.”
“I prefer Father Kelly, actually.”
“Oh yes, Father Steven Kelly. Nice touch making up a name using you and your lovely wife’s name. Steve ‘N Kelly, how damn romantic, I’d hate for something to happen to her.”
“You’re going to calmly sit there and continue threatening me using my wife?”
“Yes, I am, and I know you would die for her. Let us both hope that it doesn’t come down to that. You are a very smart man, you can figure it out, if we kill you we are going to kill her and it will not be pleasant for her. You need to seriously consider my offer; there would be money in it for you and the opportunity to run your own crew. I know how much you like to be in charge and that’s never going to happen at the FBI again, is it?”
“No, it’s not.”
“There is a Bible verse that I like to use, ’And this is the judgment; because the light is come into this world, and man loved darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil’ that’s John 3:19. You are pretending to be a man of God, so use that to your advantage. People will always believe a Priest, even a fake one. Your work is already evil; you have already chosen to love the darkness rather than the light, carrying on like you are the real thing. That’s sacrilegious isn’t it? You stood by when Agent Garcia’s husband was murdered, you could have helped her, you chose not to, you wanted it to be her that was killed, and you let her husband die in cold blood, hoping that would bring her pain. Isn’t that pure evil, Father?”
“Maybe it is,” says Kelly.
“I think it is. I think you have a dark side in you, one that is just waiting for you to let it out. One that’s been building up for years. I think you want to finally let it out, you want to see for yourself just how evil you really are, don’t you?”
“I don’t want to let out anything, I’m fine with who I am.”
“Stop lying to yourself Father, you want to let it out, we want you to let it out. You can be who you really are with our organization. No more red tape bullshit to go through, no more asking permission to run your own life. No more waiting around to get your revenge on the one person that continues ruin you.”
“Yes I want revenge on her, but that doesn’t mean I want to join you to get it.”
“You have twenty four hours Father; Martin and Liam here will drive you back to the Church and see to it that you speak to no one about this meeting. You do some soul searching tonight and just think about the hell I will unleash on you if you refuse me.”
“What about your partners?”
“I will convince them it’s time to bring you in and I’ll let them know all about you. Don’t worry, once I convince them you will help our organization they will not put out a hit on you, you have my word.”
Agent Barnes sits in the front row of the long wooden pew in the main Church, the seats behind him are silent. A statue of the Virgin Mary to his right stands watch over the rows of lit candles at her feet, burning in prayer for a lost soul. Behind her is the lectern where the readings and the Homily are passed down to the flock of faithful. The choir stands are silent, no hymns to be sung tonight. Rubbing his collar his eyes are fixed on the Crucifix, he reflects about the role he wants to play in The Kings organization and who he has become since his time at the FBI began. It’s been eighteen hours since his meeting with Mr. Wallace and he’s made his decision about his life and the direction he wants to go.
He stands and walks to the glass wall dividing the Church and the Sanctuary, above the sliding door is the metal placket that shows the first scene in the Stations of the Cross. He walks slowly towards the back of the Church studying each scene carefully, they tell the story of the sentencing, death and resurrection of Jesus. He follows the amazing story all the way around the Church ending up at the Altar, face to face with Christ on the Cross.
“I openly believe now. I feel my life purpose; I feel it in my soul. I need to do this, I must do this, for the cleansing of the sins I have and will continue to commit. I am eager to become a Priest in your Church. It is in my spirit to do this and I freely accept it. My life before this had no meaning. I am now ready to become a Man of the Cloth.”
He walks over and takes the censor and lights the incense, the gold chain tight in his left hand running loosely through his right hand hanging down two feet towards the ground. He gently swings the censor allowing the incense to burn and smoke fills the air. He walks around the Altar ceremoniously blessing everything. He returns the censor to its holder and positions himself in front of the Altar.
“I am ready to receive my Holy Orders Father. I promise to diligently perform the duties of the Priesthood and to respect and obey you.”
He lays face down on the floor.
“As you lay your hands upon me, pray for me. Invoke the power of the Holy Spirit upon me Father, Bless me.”
He stands up and turns to face the empty Church.
“Pray for me, I am your Priest now and I will lead you out of your darkness, for I know the path that is filled with brilliant riches, power and everything you think would be great in life.”
He walks down the center isle of the Church, his hands up to his chest folded in Prayer. He looks to the back of the Church and sees Anthony standing there, dressed in a t-shirt with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, shaking his head.
“You chose the path of Satan Steven, you will have Hell brought upon you,” Says Anthony.
Kelly stops in his tracks, takes a step back and closes his eyes. He opens them again to see that the Church is still empty. He looks around and sees no one. He continues on the journey that he has chosen, confident about the path freewill has given him.
When he reaches the back he turns facing the Altar, the Crucifix and the rows of empty seats.
“Now my real work may begin, I am free to be who I truly want to be in this world.”
As he walks through the foyer and to the exit of the Church, he reaches in his pocket and retrieves his cell phone. He presses the speed dial and lifts it up to his ear.
“Mr. Wallace, tell the other Kings that I am ready sir.”
“Garcia! Hey, Christina! Special Agent Christina Garcia,” Agent Thomas says yelling across the room.
“What?” She looks up from the TV.
“You ok? I’ve been yelling your name, you lost in some far off extravagant day dream?”
“Hell no, I’m fine. Just trying to find some kind of info on Kelly’s desk,” she says drinking her cold coffee, heavy mask firmly in place.
“Come down stairs, Chris found something that you need to see,”
“Who found something?”
“Agent blonde punk teenager, or as the rest of us call him, Agent Chris Miller”
“Oh, right. He finally doing his job and find something useful besides the nearest Starbucks?”
“He hates that by the way, blonde punk teenager.”
“I don’t really give a shit what he hates; he’s a newbie that works for me so he’ll answer to whatever I call him, blonde punk teenager, Agent Starbucks, whatever else I come up with. I’ll change it to Chris when he does some actual work and has earned it.”
“I think he just did.”
The two agents walk downstairs and stand behind Chris’ desk; he has been reviewing the surveillance tapes from the night before.
“Did you see all that?” Agent Chris says to his boss and her partner. “I’m not sure but I think Agent Barnes just ordained himself as Father Kelly.”
“What the hell did he just do?” she asks.
“Is he for real? Does he honestly think anyone can just ordain themselves? That’s not how it’s done in the Church?” says Thomas.
“What was that towards the end? Did he see someone; is someone else there with him?” she asks.
“No, the Church is empty, it’s the middle of the night” says Chris.
“He stopped like someone caught him and was judging him,” says Thomas.
“We should really have someone monitor this stuff all night,” says Chris.
“He really is completely insane. I always said he was and everybody believed me but this just proves that he clearly doesn’t know what reality is anymore. We pull him out of there right now, before he does something irrational that destroys this operation. Get on the phone to Baker at the office and request that we immediately remove Agent Barnes from this case, explain what just happened and send them a copy of this,” she says.
“Where is he right now? Do we have a location on him?” says Thomas
“I’ve been watching the monitors all morning and I didn’t see him in the Church or his office,” she says.
“Chris, tell Baker we need a location from Barnes’ phone. Tell him to check the GPS tracker on his car also,” says Thomas
“This is going to spin out of control real quick if we can’t find him,” she says. “I didn’t want or even ask for him to be on my team. He volunteered and the Director forced me into it.”
“If he’s insane enough to think he has become a real Priest then he’s foolish enough to start calling his own shots on this operation,” says Thomas.
“Baker says Barnes’ car is still in the Church parking lot and they can’t find his phone yet,” says Chris.
“Tell Baker I said to have a team pick up Barnes’ car and let me know as soon as they find anything in it,” Garcia says.
“Alright, this changes everything. We find Barnes first, The Kings are going to have to wait for now,” says Thomas.
“No, we stay focused on The Kings, I’m not going to let them slip away,” she says.
“Christina, we have an undercover agent in our operation that we have lost contact with and we seriously think he has lost touch with reality,” says Thomas.
“I can’t give up on The Kings. I don’t give a shit about Barnes,” she says.
“He thinks he’s a Priest!” says Thomas. “We have to take care of our team weather you hate him or not. I know he was there that night and you think he could have stopped it all but you have got to stop blaming him for what happened. We have got to find him and bring him in before he hurts someone or himself. The longer we let him stay out the bigger the chance of him screwing up this operation. If The Kings find out about him they will torture him until he cracks then they will kill him and you will lose them forever.”
“Just give me a minute, I need to think about this,” she says.
“There is nothing to think about. They will kill him. We go after him right now,” says Thomas.
“Alright, we go get him, but this will change nothing about our focus on The Kings. I will bring these bastards down,” she says.
“I know how important The Kings are to you but that doesn’t mean Barnes deserves to die for you to catch them, he needs to be brought in,” says Thomas.
“I said alright! We’ll find his crazy ass and when we do I’m going to make damn sure this time his career is over at the Bureau. The Director won’t be able to save his ass after I’m done with the list of shit I got on him. Try to send word to Barnes to meet at the spot again, we’ll see if he is checking his phone and maybe get a fix on his location. Hell, he might be insane enough to actually show up. Tell him we have more information to share, don’t tell him we have seen this video,” she says.